Monday July 11th, 8AM from Missoula’s own Adventure Cycling, we set off for Alaska.
Since the big Bolivia theft, it’s been a long hard struggle to get back on the road.
After taking the painful decision to leave South America (just two countries shy of a complete circumnavigation of the continent), we flew to Miami in mid-May.
Our original plan was to re-group in Florida. Arrange for Eric’s new bike, get the gear we needed and then set off across the US to my hometown of Missoula, Montana.
Well, as we’ve come to learn over the past five years on the road, things don’t always go to plan.
In the end, we came to the conclusion that the best plan of attack would be to organize everything from the comfort of ‘home’…well my parent’s home. Being voluntarily homeless, mom and dad’s place is the next best thing.
So, we hung out in Miami (at the home of the amazing Ted, couchsurfer extraordinaire…guy even picked us up from the airport!) for almost two weeks waiting for a super-cheap flight to Spokane, Washington.
What, they flew to Washington State? Now, I know what you must be thinking, she must really come from some podunk place, isn’t there even an airport in Missoula?
Rest assured there is. Missoula is hardly a contender for Hicksville, USA. We’ve got an airport, just one that is damned expensive to fly into. A little problem called no competition.
So we flew to Spokane, caught a ride with an old rancher and finally made it to Missoula just in time to celebrate Memorial Day.
Mind you, we were completely bike-less by the time we pulled into Missoula. Airline lost my Koga. Turned up later. Seems she took a little jaunt without me to Las Vegas.
Home at last
What a relief to be safe and sound in Missoula.
June was a month wrangling with customs rules and shipping companies, but finally Eric’s beloved Koga arrived.
What can I say? I’m jealous. She’s a beauty. Sleek and dark, running smooth, no rattles and shakes.
We couldn’t have done it alone
Again, many thanks to everyone who has supported us during our mini-crisis. So many thoughtful blog readers and fellow cyclists rallied around us in our time of need. That’s heartwarming stuff.
A special thanks to everybody who lent a hand at getting the Koga across one massive ocean direct to our doorstep in Missoula.
Sponsors to the rescue
Ours was a potential $6,000 loss (not to mention the cost of flights just to get back to the US and start re-grouping). That’s one big budget OUCH.
Thankfully, sponsors rode in like white nights and saved the day. Suffice to say, we have never, ever been so well-equipped. Thick down sleeping bags, moisture-wicking base layers, waterproof headphones, a kindle, a brand-new Big Agnes tent, Scottevest’s highly functional travel vest, bright-red panniers from Ortlieb, high-tech cycling jerseys from dare2be, protective slime to cut down on flats, McNett products for easy gear care and repair, flashy reflective gear and mirrors, unbreakable water bottles and many more useful odds and ends from Planet Bike.
So much cool stuff.
Please spend a moment on the sponsors page and see which companies are supporting us on our quest to cycle every country on the planet.
A new gear page is in the works. Keep checking back for updates. We’ll be including information on how the cold-weather equipment stands up under Arctic conditions.
We are Arctic bound. And given the 4,000+ kilometers and numerous mountain ranges that separate us from the Arctic Ocean, I have a feeling we’ll get a taste of that invigorating arctic weather.
There’ll be a few hardships I’m sure (think freezing temperatures, glacial winds and grizzly bears). Speaking of Grizzlies, the big news in our neck of the woods is a fatal bear attack in Yellowstone Park. That’s sobering stuff.
If you’ve got some fool-proof bear avoidance strategies, please pass them on. Eric’s not got much meat on his bones, so I’m certain a hungry Griz will size me up as a much tastier morsel.
Vacation at an end
Vacation in Montana is winding down. I’ll miss my zumba classes, hiking up to the M and just hanging out with family and old friends. I reckon Eric will not miss the long hours spent behind a computer screen chasing down new gear.
So, Monday it is. We’ll be off on our epic Alaska adventure. Check back soon for tales from our ride through the wide open spaces of Western Canada, the monumental scenery of the Yukon, and across the windswept tundra above the Arctic Circle. Just hope we won’t have any grizzly encounters to report.
Your emails, comments, encouragement and suggestions for improvement are always appreciated.
And don’t forget to drop us a line or leave a comment if you’ve got bear safety tips.